Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is traveling to the Netherlands and France beginning Friday to explore flood control innovations and seek economic development opportunities for the state.
Edwards was invited by Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs Ambassador Henk Ovink to see that country’s latest advancements in flood control and water management.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from international leaders in flooding prevention, and to grow our economy while we’re at it,” Edwards said in a statement. “I also look forward to furthering Louisiana’s cultural and economic ties to France.”
He will be joined by representatives from Louisiana Economic Development, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, The Water Institute of the Gulf, the Gulf Research Program, the Port of New Orleans, New Orleans & Company, Shell and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
Ovink will illustrate ways Louisiana can leverage resiliency projects to drive business investments in a growing water management sector, anchored by the Baton Rouge Water Campus, Edwards’ said in the statement.
Edwards will tour one of the Netherlands’ signature flood control projects, the 2.3 billion-euro Noordwaard, which increases the discharge flow of the Rhine River to the North Sea.
The delegation will also visit the water research campus in Delft operated by Deltares, a Water Campus / Water Institute of the Gulf anchor tenant headquartered in the Netherlands.
When he leaves the Netherlands, Edwards and the delegation will travel to Paris to meet with US Ambassador to France Denise Campbell Bauer.
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Later, they will meet with officials of Total Energies SE, the French energy and petroleum company which has Louisiana operations in Iberville Parish.
Edwards, a former US Army Ranger, will also pay tribute to Louisiana’s military veterans while visiting Normandy in northern France, where he will raise awareness about a $ 400 million capital campaign to expand and enhance the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
The National World War II Museum generates more than $ 70 million in annual revenue and supports more than 400 direct and indirect jobs.
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“It will be a privilege to visit Normandy to honor those who fought in World War II and raise international awareness of the world-class WWII Museum in New Orleans,” Edwards said.
Officials said the governor will join with Shell executives to meet with international companies about economic development opportunities connected with the state’s energy transition.
He will also work to advance progress on the establishment of a technical advisor position with the French government to be based in Louisiana who would identify potential partnerships connected with energy and climate change.
The delegation leaves Friday and returns Aug.14.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @ GregHilburn1